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By Nick Said
CAPE TOWN (Reuters) - British & Irish Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones will talk less to referee Mathieu Raynal and has urged his players to avoid scuffles with South Africa that slow down the play in their series decider with the Springboks in Cape Town on Saturday.
Last weekend's second test lasted more than two hours with breaks in play due to confrontations among the players, injuries and Television Match Official referrals, which played into the hands of the Boks as they ran away comprehensive 27-9 winners.
With the home side's preparations for the series having been severely disrupted by a COVID-19 outbreak in their squad that meant many of their leading players could not train, the Lions should have the edge in fitness and the greater vigour for the closing stages of the game.
That is if they can avoid the multiple stoppages that allowed the Boks to catch their breath in the second test.
"I won't be talking to the referee unless I have to and they (scuffles) always happen but you don't want to entertain them. It is not a case of taking a step back, but just an awareness of keeping the game flowing," Jones told reporters.
"We want to maintain the tempo of the game. We should stay away from anything that might slow us down from getting to the next set."
He conceded he was unsure if there will be more running rugby in the third test after the first two encounters were dominated by kicking.
"It has the potential to be that way, sometimes finals can be attritional, but they can open up as well. I would like to think we are prepared for both. We don't want to stifle ourselves with too much reliance on the kicking game," Jones said.
"It's a balance and that's something that we probably didn't have last week in the second half. We have to have the ability to play both ways and be ready for both (from the Boks)."
As for where the Lions need to improve for the decider, Jones is clear in his mind.
"Simplicity, discipline and accuracy... and to display the energy that we have shown throughout the tour," he said.
(Reporting by Nick Said)
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